19 Points to Ponder

19 Points to Ponder

The following will be a ramble – incomplete thoughts, ideas, and opinions presented without any special order, or assumption of importance.

These are simply odd musings of mine to add to your own if you wish – during these strange Covid 19 times . . .


  1. Horse racing is shrinking: Like so much else formerly considered a norm in our society, it is disappearing with astonishing rapidity. Will it come back? Sure . . . will it be the same as before? Unlikely.

We are the apex species of this world for one reason only – our miraculous ability to adapt. Now – adapt we must and adapt we will – in horse racing as in every other changing aspect of this new reality. But I think we will be adapting to a “new” normal, and many of the things that we have known have now passed into history.


  1. On the future of money . . . It will become scarcer, and it will morph into something new. Having as much as you can get your hands on now – in various forms, and outside of the banking system – has become a prudent choice. 

It’s near impossible for anyone (including the top honcho banksters, so-called economic experts, fund managers, etc.) to know where the trillions of new debt, unlimited printing of fiat currency, unprecedented loss of jobs, and tsunami of bankruptcies and unemployment filings will take us – but it won’t be a pretty place.


  1. A life of “sheltering in place” (in other instances known as “house arrest”) for an extended time requires diversions. Entertainment for the mind becomes a critical need in order to keep from going stir-crazy. Horse race handicapping and the watching of the races is a perfect way to distract one’s thoughts from the many other ‘worries.’


  1. Humans – all species really – have lived, interacted, and adapted to viruses all throughout the history of this planet. The viruses then adapt to our adaptations to them – and on and on it goes. No real reason to think that will not happen again this time.

It might take a bit longer this round – especially if the maniacs that receive a perverse joy from splicing gain-of-function characteristics into already virulent and deadly existing viruses – have succeeded with this one. Our numbers will be thinned, and the pain of loss of loved ones will affect many who remain – but resilience is on our side.


  1. Death can come at any moment. Of course – this is always true, but seemingly more so of late. Everyone hopes it will come only after a long life well-lived and in the “fullness of time” – but that will not be the case for many. However, the contemplation of death should not be constant, nor devolve into fear or a morbid dreading. Rather – it can be intermittent, purposeful, and give one a keener awareness of the truly valuable in life.


  1. Should your handicapping change now with the radically reduced availability of betting opportunities? I think – yes.

Confusion will increase – for several reasons: Jockeys and trainers are moving to new areas in order to try and stay in action, lots more competition for the diminished number of purses, possibly more ‘shenanigans’ in order to try and make ends meet, etc. etc..

How to adapt betting to that? I believe winning favorites percentages (that have been going up in the last decade or so) will start to lower. I have been opening up my own acceptable odds parameters considerably – looking for higher paying contenders, playing with a bit more “risk-on” approach than previously.


  1. Most importantly though – for many casual players the question will arise, “Should I continue betting at all?” If jobs and incomes have been lost – if money is tight and or getting tighter – a serious accounting needs to include the option of stopping completely for a while. The future is unknown – naturally, but there may come a time in the next few months or years when many things become scarce – food and freedom possibly among those.


  1. If higher odds are a target (because of the new heightened confusion factor in racing), yet money is tight and therefore losing streaks more painful than usual . . . how to craft a handicapping and betting approach that fits?

Consider this idea: Take the low 3 morning line runners and handicap the race as if only those three were running (i.e. kick out everyone else for now). Establish your order of preference.

Now handicap only the horses you previously kicked out (i.e. now kick the low 3 morning line horses out and handicap the rest of the field). Try to do this part of the handicapping without looking at the morning line odds. Get your top three horses from this group.

At about 5 minutes to post time: Check to see if any horse not in the low 3 morning line group is now going to be in the low 3 final odds (i.e. horses taking betting action not foreseen by the ml odds rankings) – include those in you low odds group and re-order if necessary – keeping only three – the 3 low odds horses on the board (might be 4 on occasion if the third and fourth are tied in odds).

Near post time check the odds: eliminate any horse at 60-1 or higher / eliminate any horse at less than 4-5, and also eliminate any from your higher-odds group that is at less than 9-2.

Betting: Choose your remaining top-ranked horse from the low-odds group – bet 60% of your base bet on that horse and split the remaining 40% of your base bet between the best-ranked two higher odds horses.

Should your low-odds contender win, you will have a small loss or a small win. Should one of the higher odds contenders win, you should have a small to medium (occasionally large) profit.

This will keep you in the game with a high strike rate (betting three horses per race) and put you in front of some potentially very high payers. Overall profits will not be huge (if betting win only), but small profits should be there consistently.


  1. The Kentucky Derby to be run in September?! As amazing as that sounds – let’s just hope it actually comes to pass.


  1. Anyone who still has a political preference – who still believes either party’s propaganda spiel – needs to open their eyes a little bit wider in order to let the light of truth shine in. One of my favorite quotes becomes more apt with each passing day, “Governments are entities with their own interests, and will always put their own interests first. They treat their subjects as milk cows, and if they need to – they will treat them as beef cows.” – Doug Casey  (Also check out the Ayn Rand quote in the right column of this page – the 5th quote down under “Quotes We Like”)


  1. Virus protection: Vitamin D / Vitamin C / Selenium / Zinc / Chaga / Glutathione / Magnesium . . . then soaking up some rays while – perhaps – sipping a glass of Chateau Fonplegade St. Emillon (vintage 2015 preferred).


  1. Horseracing’s on-going (for what now – 30 years?!) drug scandals have become unacceptablea no-holds-barred, no mercy, house cleaning is urgently needed.


  1. And while we are at it – why would it be at all difficult to cut betting off at a specific time prior to loading – say 1 minute to post – and lock the odds at that point. I vote to kill the special relationship that exist between the tracks and the so-called betting syndicates (they used to be called crime syndicates) that are allowed to past-post their wagers anytime during the first 4 to 6 seconds after they have opened the gates.


  1. Courage is going to become its own new kind of wealth. The timid from the “upper crust” – those with lots of cash and expensive toys will find themselves at a disadvantage to regular folk who possess pluck and daring.


  1. I planted (during the last few years) passion fruit vines in a few spots around the immediate neighborhood. They now grow up into several of the old oaks and numerous Camphor trees here. They drop ultra-delicious fruit bombs during their 6-month long fruiting season (the fruit ripens on the tree and drops when ready – and it is enclosed in a very hard shell, so the drop to the ground does not harm it at all). Haven’t had any complaints from neighbors!


  1. Children – whether our own or not – deserve special concern during these transition times. Not white-washing or candy-coating reality (unless they are very young), but extra input and leading by example – extra and spontaneous ‘good stuff’ should be given to them.


  1. Maybe now is the time to start thinking about your betting expectations differently . . .
  • If you were fairly flush in recent years, and race betting was a “hobby” that you pursued with easy-come disposable income . . . it may be time to actually try to make it at least to break-even status (or find a different hobby that is less costly).
  • If you were making and stashing a decent nut each month before, keep it up! But – be aware that “needed money” is often “scared money” and the added pressures may very well change your usual outcomes.
  • If an extra $50 a day would make a difference in your standard of living in the lean times that are coming – shape your approach in that light – not by the dream of hitting it big.
  • AND – be supremely aware: If $50 a day would make a difference in your standard of living – trying to secure it betting the races – is likely not the way to go.


  1. If the future brings even more dire tmes, find your base – your anchor rock. It could be religion, music, great literature, a spouse, nature, meditation – whatever. Commune with that energy in an augmented way – step it up and make it even more profound for yourself. This will serve to stabilize the ever-wilder roller coaster that is coming – maybe provide you with a measure of peace in the midst of the chaotic energy that will abound.


  1. No bleeping virus is gonna spoil my day!!  


The very best to you all           – Gary / Horse Racing Gold


  1. John Van Den Heever


    Never stopped reading your “sendings” even after all these years…!
    Great stuff…and best regards from me and the Solomon Island twins…!


    • John – Good to hear from you my friend. It’s always great when the “old-timers” check back in . . . makes things
      seem a bit more ‘right’ – still in balance so-to-speak. Gary

  2. Great article. You are right about a lot of your thoughts. Donna

  3. Swanson Mitchell

    Ahhhhh! I love a breath of sanity from the internet. So many negative things out there on the World Wide Web.I’m a very positive thinker.

    However it gets old seeing angry people talking about something they really don’t understand, but acting like they do.

    Why does everyone try insert their theories when all they’ve done is listen to some Knucklehead on their favorite news channel? Who gives what is their more-than-likely uneducated opinion. Doing this without offering up all the facts, or even worse half of the facts to spin their own agenda. It’s crazy how gullible, and lazy people have become to try to find out if their sources are factual. It’s okay to get opinions and facts from other areas and then form your own opinions. Ha-Ha, sorry-not sorry I guess as I got going on my own ramble there.

    Now onto the good stuff! The stuff that makes me go! The betting on the horses stuff!

    I’m still wagering the ponies, and as long as they keep them going I’ll continue to bet them. Been doing it for years now, and it’s forever changing. Quick Note Record keeping has been so important to me.

    A shameless plug for HBS / HRG coming here. The Win-Ex Distilled is a great tool. Use 3% of your bankroll, and divide that into thirds for the Win & Exacta betting.

    Do the quick math to get the revised 3% between the races when you have the time. Oh, and if you want to go a little deeper in the exacta a 3.014% bankroll is acceptable IMO. I’m not just saying it to be saying it. I’m saying it, because I live it.

    Keep good records, get better at spotting false ML favorites, and hopefully have a hit rate of 350 to 400 per 1000 races. It could make you a few bucks for rainy days. By the way a 1,000 qualifying races doesn’t take long when doing multiple tracks. Don’t force them too much though. You’ll talk yourself into a false favorite that isn’t really a false favorite.

    Must remain committed to the Bankroll wagering approach. No chasing, and no playing with bill money.

    If you have to start out with only a $1,000 bankroll than so be it, and there’s no shame in that as long as you have to it away for gambling purposes only.

    Two $10 win bets, an a few $1 exactas equally $30 a race can still heal in the long run. Do it right, and stay true then the positive results can come. Have to always be watching and learning. Never think you have the races completely figured out.

    This game can be fun on top of fun.

    Gary, its great to see your mind is still spinning it’s wheels in the forward motion, and not in neutral. If you accept this post please accept my apology for a lengthy response/ramble of my own.

    Best Of Fortune!


    • Swanson – Always great to hear from you, and your “lengthy response/ramble” is appreciated! Thanks for sharing. – Gary

  4. Good ramble…….couple of notes…..( #11….One change….sipping on single malt scotch 🙂 )….
    And I keep singing John Lennons …..”Nobody told me” ….there’d be days like these….

    Strange days indeed…..

    Stay well, Gary…

    • Thanks Joe – If they keep taking away race tracks from me – might make another change to #11 – to “swigging on a bottle of Ripple!” – Gary

  5. A Graded stakes ramble

  6. glenn edward davis

    Good stuff. I read Casey and Bonner (among others) every day.

    • Glen – Thanks. Those two are sharp thinkers – that’s sure. Libertarians worthy of study. – Gary

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